Original Painting by Alaska Artist Gail Niebrugge
“Downtown Chisana 1989” Original Painting
22″ x 30″ watercolor and acrylic on rag paper
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Alaska artist Gail Niebrugge served as Artist-in-Residence for the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park after its establishment in 1980 for nearly a decade. One of her favorite settlements during this time is a community named Chisana, located along the Chisana River east of the Wrangell mountains, accessed by small airplane. The buildings depicted in the painting are located along the dirt airstrip that serves as the main street downtown. Niebrugge was fascinated by the construction of wilderness log cabins and impressed by the ingenuity of using found and available materials. The roof of the distant cabin is shingled with flattened, rusty, AvGas cans, not unusual for remote sites. All construction materials are flown in, as well as fuel, groceries and supplies. Once a fuel can is empty it remains discarded until it can be reused as a roof, building siding, or whatever need arises. Nothing is wasted. This is part of an ongoing series of paintings depicting life in Wrangell-St. Elias, Alaska, that the artist has been working on since 1976.